Battle to the Top

Volkswagen Beetle GRC cars dominated the 2016 Global Rallycross season. Find out how in this look back at the year’s most important Global Rallycross events.

The Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team made a clean sweep of the 2016 Red Bull Global Rallycross championship, placing first and second in the Driver’s Championship and winning the Manufacturer’s Championship — but not before drivers Scott Speed and Tanner Foust, crew, and their 560-horsepower Volkswagen Beetle GRC cars tackled punishing courses, aggressive competitors, extreme weather, and mechanical challenges.

The excitement of rallycross isn’t lost on its competitors. The fast pace and tough terrain is reminiscent of a drag race, stage rally, circuit race, and demolition derby all in one. And the high-powered environment kept the Volkswagen team on pins and needles every race.

Take a look back at the team’s spectacular 2016 season:

The Car Most Likely to Win

Foust completed a perfect weekend in the first and second round in Phoenix, May 21–22. He set the quickest time in qualifying and won each Heat, Semifinal, and both main events in the doubleheader weekend. Speed won all his Heats and Semifinals and came in second to his teammate in Round 2. Behind the scenes, the team changed the transmission in Speed’s car in under an hour, cutting nearly twenty minutes from the time the procedure normally takes. The car was a winner from the start, and the weekend marked the Volkswagen Beetle GRC’s seventh overall victory in only its second full season.

The Biggest Battle

Foust and Speed finished third and fourth, respectively, during the Dallas round on June 4. After leading every session, the pair of drivers ran into trouble on the first lap and were shuffled back into the field. The tight Dallas course offered few passing opportunities, so Foust had to settle for third place and Speed for fourth. But Foust’s finish — along with Heat and Semifinal wins — provisionally kept him in the lead in the standings.



Most Deserving of After-Race Champagne

During Rounds 4 and 5 in Daytona, June 18–19, Foust and Speed won a dramatic one-two finish, but it wasn’t easy. In the weekend’s first Final, the track caused damage to Foust’s car and an underhood complication with Speed’s car forced the crew to pull an all-nighter making repairs. The next day saw a hard-charging performance from Speed after starting from the back of the grid. While Foust led, the reigning champion worked through the field using speed, precision, and a perfectly-timed joker lap to end the race in second place.



Most Likely to Overcome the Odds

Speed had to work his way from the back of the field once again in July 2’s race in New River, North Carolina. Foust took a huge early lead in the rain-affected race, while Speed made a ferocious start from seventh. In an incredible display of car control on a drenched course, Foust grew his lead until he began to lose power and fell back to preserve the car for the next race. That left Speed in a lap-by-lap battle for the win. Speed strategically used his joker lap to take the lead on the final corner, earning his first victory of the season. Round 7 was called off after a thunderstorm left a 4-foot-deep lake on the dirt section of the track, making conditions unraceable.



Most Intense Track

Speed claimed victory again while Foust battled to third place with a last-lap pass during Round 8 in Washington, D.C., on July 30. Speed led from the start of the final and finished with a nearly two-second lead. Foust fell to fourth position on the first lap, but hounded the third-place driver and even spun his car before recovering and passing his rival on the last lap for a third-place finish. Drivers described the track as scary on its own, and even more difficult with other racers by their sides.


Unsung Heroes of the Race

Foust and Speed started side-by-side and jumped to an early 1–2 lead during August 28’s Round 9 in Atlantic City. With no pressure from behind, the pair dueled hard until the penultimate lap when Foust suffered a tire puncture. Speed passed his teammate to claim the win; Foust still managed to finish fourth with the rapidly deflating tire. It was a weekend full of red flags and contact with other cars. The drivers couldn’t say enough about the mechanics and their attention to detail, helping to keep the cars competitive.


The Fastest of the Group

Foust opened a gap in the early laps of September 18’s Round 10 in Seattle and never looked back. He reached the checkered flag more than three seconds ahead of his nearest competitor on one of the most extreme tracks the team had ever seen. Speed was spun on the opening lap of his Semifinal and was forced to start from the rear of the field in the restart, but managed to reach fourth place by the final lap. The team’s seventh victory in 2016 clinched Volkswagen’s first Red Bull Global Rallycross Manufacturer’s Championship, even before the season’s final two rounds in Los Angeles.


Most Emotional Day

Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross claimed its third 1–2 finish on day one in Los Angeles, ensuring that only Speed and Foust were still eligible for overall championship honors at the final race on October 9. With both cars sporting special liveries in celebration of the launch of #PinkBeetle, Speed managed a second-place finish on Sunday — ahead of Foust’s fourth-place effort — securing his second consecutive Driver’s Championship, with second place in the standings going to his teammate. Over the course of the 2016 season, the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team earned a total of 8 wins and 14 podium finishes, helping Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross earn its first Manufacturer’s Championship. Despite its short history, the team has become a dominant force in Red Bull Global Rallycross, amassing 18 wins, 34 podium finishes, and three championships.

The team will be looking for the same success in 2017 racing at the following locations. Catch the races on TV at the times listed below:

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